CARDIAC patients in Fife have attended an activity day at Lochore Meadows.
Some 50 people who have suffered a cardiac incident turned out to take part in a range of activities including archery, kayaking, cycling, walking and kata-kanuing – paddling in canoes designed for teams.
The event was organised to celebrate 11 years of community-based Fife Cardiac Rehabilitation Services – delivered by Fife Sports and Leisure Trust (FSLT) in partnership with NHS Fife.
The annual get-together celebrates the achievement and progress of people who attend cardiac rehabilitation classes in leisure centres across the Kingdom.
The service, which has been delivered by the trust since 2000, provides long-term maintenance involving gym or circuit classes led by qualified British Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation instructors.
Around 12,000 people every year have taken part in Fife Sports and Leisure Trust’s cardiac rehab classes held in 11 of its centres across Fife.
Patients are referred to the service following a cardiac incident and progress through three phases of rehabilitation before joining phase four – the community-based service offered by the trust.
Stuart Foulkes (40) from Crail has been attending classes at Cupar Sports Centre for a year after suffering a heart attack.
He said: “I never thought I lived a life that would lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and, ultimately, a heart attack.
“I was working during the Open in St Andrews last year when my breathing got really heavy, and I felt like I had really bad indigestion.
“My friend bugged me to go to the hospital and, after suffering for several hours, I went and was told I had had a heart attack. I was only 39.
“I spent 12 weeks recovering in phase three classes at the hospital doing cardio training.
“I was then referred on to the phase four gym classes at Cupar Sports Centre by the hospital about a year ago.”
Stuart went on: “The classes are brilliant. The instructors are incredible, and the people are just great.
“It doesn’t matter that I’m only 40 – we’ve all been through the same thing and have something in common that really forms a bond.
“The classes have helped me makeover my lifestyle.
“Now I’m eating healthier, I’ve stopped smoking and I’m going to the gym.”
Jacquie Stringer, the trust’s programme and events manager, said: “The fact that some of our service users have been attending for 11 years confirms that the programme makes a real difference not just to their health, but offers important social and emotional benefits too.”
Kirsten Kruszewski, consulting cardiologist with NHS Fife, said: “Research has shown that patients involved in a cardiac rehabilitation programme benefit from optimal recovery.
“Rehabilitation can also help prevent further incidents and unnecessary readmission to hospital.
“Being able to offer community-based cardiac rehabilitation once a patient has been discharged from hospital is essential.”